Southampton vow to shed selling club tag by keeping Liverpool target Virgil van Dijk

Frank Dalleres
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Van Dijk has been pursued by Liverpool and other big clubs this summer (Source: Getty)

Southampton intend to shed their reputation as a selling club following their Chinese takeover – and plan to start by resisting all offers this summer for unsettled captain Virgil van Dijk.

Van Dijk has asked to leave Saints amid interest from Liverpool, who have signed five players from the south coast club for a combined £96m since 2014, Chelsea and Arsenal.

Southampton have held firm so far and chairman Ralph Krueger insists they will retain Van Dijk in order to change perceptions.

Read more: Southampton become seventh Chinese-owned club in England

“Virgil is not for sale in this window and it’s not personal. It’s not about him; it’s about an overall much bigger picture, a change of course for Southampton,” said Krueger.

“That’s one player in this whole equation of 25 and it is the visible one. But for us it’s the principle and it’s the statement we need to make to get to a new space as a club.”

Krueger says the change of direction is backed by the Gao family, who this week confirmed a deal that will see it acquire 80 per cent of Southampton for around £210m.

“We are very, very adamant about carrying this through,” he told the Press Association. “The new partnership has completely and wholly backed our strategy and on September 1 people will see how serious we were and are.”

Read more: Liverpool apologise to Southampton over Virgil van Dijk pursuit

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